If there was anything as headline-grabbing in 2016 as the sparring between then-Presidential nominees Donald J. Trump and Hillary Clinton, it was the role Melania Trump played as the potential First Lady. Not one to say very much, Trump mostly let her style do the talking — and throughout the campaign trail, editors deciphered her every fashion move, assigning subliminal messages to colors and silhouettes and comparing her outfits to those of the First Ladies before her. But come Inauguration Day, the tides shifted.
The outcome of the 2016 Presidential Election wasn't necessarily something anyone expected, and thus, backlash — against any and all Trumps, even son Barron — ensued, with the fashion industry going from covering Trump's outfits through a bipartisan lens to harshly critiquing them. And when an onslaught of legislation that didn't align with the industry's moral compass came to the forefront, the First Lady went from a talking point to a target, with the fashion media pledging to ignore her and designers vowing not to dress her (save for Dolce & Gabbana, of course).
Despite the industry's proposed negligence towards the First Lady's fashion choices, it'd seem we instead watched on, capitalizing on the Trump name for the sake of, if anything, Twitter and site traffic. After all, she was one of the most Googled people of the year (with President Trump not even making the top ten). Because Trump or not, the office of the First Lady is responsible for upholding a sort of image, and with the help of former Vogue director Stephanie Winston Wolkoff and designer Hervé Pierre, she's managed to do just that. Which begs the question: Did we pay more attention to Melania Trump — be it for her politics or her fashion (or both) — than we meant to? Did an industry that spent the last year opposing any and all things Trumpian make the most of an otherwise impossible, albeit fashionable, situation?
A year's worth of designer labels later, and Trump still has us talking (perhaps those who felt fashion could potentially learn to love her were right). Before the upcoming State of the Union address, we're reflecting on the times Melania Trump (and her outfits) had us talking this past year — and how many times she bought straight off the runway, considering how few designers have endorsed her wearing their clothes. If the slideshow ahead means anything, it's that, like a type of Kardashian, fashion (still) loves curiosity. And it'll even get you a Vogue cover, too.